Despite Saying No, Paul Ryan Is Being Heavily Lobbied To Run For Speaker

Paul Ryan is getting pressure from all sides to get into the race for Speaker Of The House.

In the wake of Kevin McCarthy’s shocking announcement yesterday afternoon that he was withdrawing his bid to become Speaker of the House in the wake of John Boehner’s resignation, the House Republican Caucus was thrown into chaos. The general consensus seems to be that neither of the two other declared candidates, Utah Congressman Jason Chaffetz and Florida Congressman Daniel Webster, have either the support necessary to get to the 218 floor votes needed to get the job or the skills needed to bridge the gaps that divide an obviously bitterly divided caucus. Beyond them, though, the list of potential viable candidates seems to be rather short. Georgia Congressman Lynn Westmoreland, who has served in Congress since winning election in 2006, became the first person to say he was considering getting into get into the race after McCarthy’s bombshell, but he’s still a relative unknown outside Capitol Hill. California Congressman Darrell Issa, who previously served as Chairman of the Government Oversight Committee and who came to prominence during that committee’s investigations of the Fast & Furious and IRS scandals, said that he would consider getting in the race. Other names that have been mentioned in the past day include Texas Congressman Jeb Hensarling, Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole, and Virginia Congressman Bob Goodlatte. There’s also been talk about electing a “caretaker” Speaker who would only serve until the end of the current Congress, but that seems like a desperation move. Finally, as there always is during incidents such as this, there have been those who have pointed out that the Constitution does not require the Speaker to be a Member of Congress, which has led to such bizarre things as people suggesting Mitt Romney as a candidate and Newt Gingrich saying he’d be willing to serve again.

Through all the din of speculation yesterday, though, there was one name that came through the loudest, but it’s the name of the one man in Washington who seems to be the most reluctant to take the job:

As soon as Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) shocked his fellow Republicans by withdrawing from the race for House speaker, Paul Ryan knew what was coming.

“I will not be a candidate,” the Wisconsin Republican said in a release issued less than 20 minutes after McCarthy’s stunning Thursday announcement, in an immediate bid to cut off any pressure for him to do a job he has repeatedly said he does not want.

But this time, it didn’t take. By mid-afternoon, outgoing speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) had spoken to Ryan at least twice, trying to convince the reluctant congressman that he was the only man who could save House Republicans from their self-created chaos.

By day’s end, after hunkering down for two hours in his ceremonial office a few steps from the House floor, after listening to pleas from friends to take the reins of the bitterly divided Republican caucus, he emerged, declining to explicitly state his plans.

“I’ve got no news for you guys,” Ryan told reporters, exiting the Capitol. “I’ve got nothing to add right now. . . . This is not the time or place, guys.”

As soon as Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) shocked his fellow Republicans by withdrawing from the race for House speaker, Paul Ryan knew what was coming.

“I will not be a candidate,” the Wisconsin Republican said in a release issued less than 20 minutes after McCarthy’s stunning Thursday announcement, in an immediate bid to cut off any pressure for him to do a job he has repeatedly said he does not want.

But this time, it didn’t take. By mid-afternoon, outgoing speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) had spoken to Ryan at least twice, trying to convince the reluctant congressman that he was the only man who could save House Republicans from their self-created chaos.

By day’s end, after hunkering down for two hours in his ceremonial office a few steps from the House floor, after listening to pleas from friends to take the reins of the bitterly divided Republican caucus, he emerged, declining to explicitly state his plans.

“I’ve got no news for you guys,” Ryan told reporters, exiting the Capitol. “I’ve got nothing to add right now. . . . This is not the time or place, guys.”

But, as Politico notes, there is a full court press to get Ryan to say yes, or even just maybe, to a run for Speaker:

It’s all about Paul Ryan right now.

House Republicans are frantically lobbying Ryan to run for speaker after House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) abruptly ditched his bid Thursday for speaker, leaving a gaping hole atop the fractious Republican Conference and no obvious successor to John Boehner.

The Wisconsin Republican is getting bombarded with calls and one-on-one appeals from GOP lawmakers, urging him to be the party’s white knight. Boehner has had multiple conversations with the Ways and Means Committee chairman. Even before he dropped his own bid, McCarthy told Ryan he should do it. And the list goes on: House Republican Conference Chair Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) spoke to him about it on the House floor, and Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) also has pushed Ryan to reconsider.

It’s unclear whether the 2012 vice presidential candidate will. Soon after McCarthy’s blockbuster decision Thursday, Ryan released a statement that “while I am grateful for the encouragement I’ve received, I will not be a candidate.”

But then the arm-twisting began. When asked later in the day whether he would run for speaker, Ryan said, “I have no comment.”

Amid the pressure, Ryan canceled all of his fundraising activity over the next 48 hours.

GOP lawmakers are scrambling to find a replacement after McCarthy’s sudden departure from the speaker’s race and Boehner slated to leave Congress at the end of the month. Boehner, who said he will stay on as speaker until a successor is chosen, scheduled a Friday meeting with the Republican conference to figure out how to move forward.

It took no time for Ryan’s name to surface, yet again, as the best candidate who could unite the divided conference and shepherd through the divided House must-pass legislation, such as raising the debt ceiling and keeping the government funded.

“He is uniquely gifted and qualified for that position,” South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy said, who has also resisted calls to run for a top leadership job. He called Ryan the “smartest kid in the class.”

California Republican Devin Nunes also is pressing Ryan to jump in.

“I think Paul Ryan is the only eligible candidate,” Nunes said.

In addition to all the comments from fellow caucus members, Ryan is also being pressured to run by several top ranking Republicans. Speaker John Boehner, who has said he’ll remain on the job until the party finds a replacement, reportedly spent hours on the phone with Ryan trying to bend his ear, and canceled a scheduled appearance on The Tonight Show to stay in Washington to deal with the fallout from McCarthy’s announcement. McCarthy himself said that Ryan would be an excellent choice for Speaker, as did Wisconsin Governor and close Ryan ally Scott Walker. Throughout it all, though Ryan has remained stoic and non-committal and there is no indication as of yet that he’s willing to change his mind. This is consistent for Ryan, who has had the opportunity at least twice before to make a run for the Speaker’s chair with the support of House conservatives but declined the opportunity in favor of immersing himself in the policy wonk work of being Chairman of the Budget Committee, and now the Ways & Means Committee, that he seems to immensely prefer to the day-to-day political glad-handing that being Speaker or any member of leadership involves.

Looking at it from Ryan’s point of view, there seems to be little incentive for him to take a job that he has no seeming interest in having. If John Boehner’s tenure has proven anything, it is that being Speaker of the House at the head of this Republican Caucus is a completely thankless task filled with immense political risks and little political upside for someone as young as Ryan who still has a potentially long political career ahead of him. No matter who sits in the chair, they will be denounced by the House Freedom Caucus and the others who has pushed the caucus to the right for any signs of impurity and any deals that they make with the White House, the Senate, or House Democrats. This is not the kind of politician that Ryan has been since he was elected in 1998. If anything, he hews closer to the Boehner/McCarthy mold in that he has a long history of being willing to reach across aisles and make deals, as witnessed perhaps most strikingly in the deal that he helped reach with Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray in the aftermath of the 2013 government shutdown. If that’s an indication of how he would govern as Speaker, and it probably is, then it’s likely that the purists who might now be saying that they’d support him will be quickly denouncing him the same way they have gone after Boehner, McCarthy, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Add into this calculus the fact that Ryan has made clear on repeated occasion the fact that being Speaker would make it nearly impossible to spend the time with his young family that he considers important, and it’s hard to see why he’d change his mind from the emphatic denial he issued yesterday. Until he gives that final no, though, or until Republicans settle on another candidate, Paul Ryan is likely to be subjected to pressure to take up a job that he clearly doesn’t seem to want.

Update: The Washington Post reports that Ryan is reportedly reconsidering his previous denials, but has not made any commitments yet:

Paul Ryan is seriously considering a bid for House speaker. He’s consulting his wife, Janna, and should make a definitive decision soon, according to top GOP sources.

Despite repeatedly and sincerely insisting he doesn’t want the job, the Wisconsin congressman is under intense and increasing pressure from all corners of the House Republican Conference to assume a position that puts him second in the presidential line of succession.

That includes public support from Kevin McCarthy, the majority leader who shocked Washington by abruptly withdrawing from the speaker’s race yesterday, and private support from John Boehner, who had two long phone conversations with Ryan after the McCarthy bombshell. The current speaker told Ryan that he’s the only person who can now unite the House GOP.

It seems unlikely that we’ll hear anything from Ryan on this before the end of the day, though, and with the long Columbus Day Weekend coming up it’s probably that the fate of the Speakership will remain up in the air for the time being.

Update #2: Shortly before Noon, Ryan’s Communications Director released the following statement:

Brendan Buck, Ryan’s communications director, said “Chairman Ryan appreciates the support he’s getting from his colleagues but is still not running for Speaker.”

After meetings today on the Hill, Ryan is headed back to Wisconsin, where I’m sure this week’s developments will be a topic of conversation.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. CSK says:

    The “base” hates Ryan. Like some of his colleagues who’ve refused to have anything anything to do with the speakership, he’s fully aware the base will end up hating whoever takes the job, even if that person is currently beloved oft the base.

  2. C. Clavin says:

    He’s actually the perfect Republican.
    He’s a mendacious fwcker if ever there was one…his convention speech was a master class in fact free rhetoric.
    He’s a firm believer in unicorns and tax cuts to the rich that will that pay for themselves.
    He wants nothing more in life than to take aid away from the sick and the poor and the elderly.
    And he is both an heir to fortune made from Government contracts, and a beneficiary of Social Security, who wants to shrink the Government so that no one else has the opportunities he has had.
    Best of all….this limited Government guy has never held a real private sector job…other than MacDonalds.

  3. C. Clavin says:

    @C. Clavin:
    2 down-votes? I guess someone doesn’t like Ryan’s record.

  4. gVOR08 says:

    @C. Clavin:

    Best of all….this limited Government guy has never held a real private sector job…other than MacDonalds.

    And he hands out copies of Atlas Shrugged. It really is impossible to parody this stuff.

  5. grumpy realist says:

    Looks like there might have been a backstory to the backstory.

    (Although anything that comes from the mouth of that piece of egregious slime, Charles Johnson, I’d disbelieve on principle.)

  6. C. Clavin says:

    @gVOR08:
    Right? And then everyone is surprised that the Republican party is in a death spiral.

  7. Pinky says:

    Whatever Cliffy may think of Ryan’s honesty, his lack of interest in power seems worthy of Diogenes’s notice.

  8. gVOR08 says:

    @Pinky: Boehner’s experience would call into question whether the Speaker has any power. And Ryan is either a liar or innumerate. There is no third option, except both.

  9. C. Clavin says:

    @Pinky:
    First…it’s not my opinion that Ryan is mendacious as hell…it’s a fact.
    Second…I’m not sure why you think someone who ran for VP is not interested in power…but as Chairman of the House Budget Commitee he has plenty of power to make the Country into his vision of the Hunger Games from right where he is.

  10. Mr. Prosser says:

    Jonathan Bernstein over at Bloomberg View: “My two cents? He should not take the job unless he gets two things: Public support from House Freedom Caucus members, and strong private assurances that they’ll back off on insisting on a debt-limit confrontation and a government shutdown showdown.” I think he’s saying Ryan won’t take the job.

  11. Pinky says:

    @C. Clavin: He didn’t campaign for the VP nod as far as I’ve heard, and despite being higher up the food chain, it’s not a position of power at all.

  12. stonetools says:

    I’m betting he doesn’t take it. He has a job he likes and he has his eye on another job: President that the position of speaker doesn’t help him get. I think that a fire-eater like Chaffetz or Webster will get the job in the end, because no one else wants it.

  13. Gustopher says:

    If the Republicans are have trouble finding a qualified American who will take the job, maybe they need to look at bringing someone in on an H-1B visa. They will put up with all sorts of crap, because their residency is tied to their employment.

    India has countless people who would love to take this job, who speak excellent English (with an accent, sure), and who are good, hard workers. There would be the added benefit that having one of the faces of the Republican Party be brown would help dispel the image of the Republicans as a bunch of old white guys.

    If that doesn’t work out, the Republicans can start picking up day laborers from outside a Home Depot.

  14. James P says:

    Ryan won’t run because he does not have a path to 218. The Freedom Caucus has veto power over any candidacy and they’ll exercise it on Ryan.

    I won’t go so far as to call Ryan a RINO, but I will call him a wimp who doesn’t have the stomach for confrontation.

    He won’t use the debt ceiling as leverage. That’s basically the only leverage point we have to extract concessions from the idiot community organizer sitting in the Oval Office. The Freedom Caucus has made it clear they want to play hardball with the debt ceiling and will not back anyone for Speaker who is not committed to that.

    Barry can be rolled if the conservatives have the political will to stand together. Just simply refuse to raise the debt ceiling unless and until it is coupled with a repeal of Obamacare, the Iran capitulation, and defunding of Planned Death-hood

    This is not rocket science. It’s just a matter of testicular fortitude and Ryan appears to be lacking that.

  15. Pinky says:

    @stonetools: Why do you think he wants to be President? He was in a fairly decent position to run this cycle but he chose not to. If he’s planning a run 4 or 8 years from now, I don’t see how a couple of terms as Speaker would hurt him.

  16. grumpy realist says:

    I see our resident Baron Munchausen is back again.

  17. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Pinky: Ryan has bigger fish to fry. He wants to be the current resident at 1600 Penn. Ave. in the future and the line “unsuccessful cat herder 2015-2020” will make an unimpressive entry on his resume.

    Not a Diogenes moment in any way.

  18. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @James P:

    The Freedom Caucus has made it clear they want to play hardball with the debt ceiling and will not back anyone for Speaker who is not committed to that.

    It seems as though we’re entering another era where burying your money in a can in the back yard will be seen as a prudent financial move.

  19. James P says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: I’m OK with an economic implosion as long as it occurs on Obama’s watch.

  20. Moosebreath says:

    @Pinky:

    “If he’s planning a run 4 or 8 years from now, I don’t see how a couple of terms as Speaker would hurt him.”

    First, the last Speaker to be elected President was James K. Polk.

    Second, the next 15 months (until a new President is sworn in) will either include (i) an epic battle with the Presidency which will include actually carrying out the threats the Freedom Caucus wants in letting the country default on its debt or shutting the government down, or (ii) a continuation of the Boehner record of getting a few concessions and passing the minimum necessary to keep the country functioning. If (i) occurs, the Speaker will be blamed by much of the country, whereas the Chair of the Budget Committee will not. If (ii), the Speaker will be blamed by the right-wing true believers whereas the Chair of the Budget Committee will not.

    So why would someone thinking of running for President want to be Speaker and not Chair of the Budget Committee during that time?

  21. Pinky says:

    @Moosebreath: Who was the last chair of the Budget Committee to be elected President? It’s true that the House is not the usual stepping-stone to the Presidency, but a future candidate should always be increasing his influence and visibility, and you don’t do that by turning down the Speakership.

  22. al-Ameda says:

    Public support from House Freedom Caucus members,

    Shouldn’t we begin referring to these misanthropes the “House Hostage Caucus?”

  23. wr says:

    @Pinky: ” If he’s planning a run 4 or 8 years from now, I don’t see how a couple of terms as Speaker would hurt him.”

    Well, it’s possible that unlike you, he’s actually read a book in his life and knows that no sitting speaker of the house has gone on to be president in 150 years. And it’s possible that unlike you he can see that the “Freedom Caucus” will force any speaker either to subscribe to nation-destroying policies which will be vastly unpopular with the majority of the country or plunge Congress into chaos.

    In other words, it’s possible that he, unlike you, actually thinks a question through without spouting some ignorant babble.

  24. C. Clavin says:

    @James P: `
    So guy that lies about his credentials doesn’t understand the Debt Ceiling.
    Quelle surprise!!!

  25. C. Clavin says:

    @James P:

    I’m OK with an economic implosion as long as it occurs on Obama’s watch.

    You haven’t been paying attention…Obama got us out of the Republican economic implosion.

  26. stonetools says:

    @Pinky:

    Heh, I was right. He turned down the job.
    Having 4 to 8 years of people yelling at him because he won’t push sufficiently right wing nut job bills isn’t a recipe for advancing Presidential hopes, apparently.
    I think that once you go through the experience of being considered for even VP, the lure of a Presidential bid is ever there before you. He probably thinks the time is not right now, probably because people still remember the decisive defeat of the Romney-Ryan ticket, when conservatives thought victory was inevitable.

  27. C. Clavin says:

    @Pinky:
    You don’t remember him running for VP?????????
    WTF?????

  28. bookdragon says:
  29. David M says:

    @Pinky:

    [Ryan’s] lack of interest in power seems worthy of Diogenes’s notice.

    First, he’s in Congress. He’s more interested in power than almost everyone else in the country. Secondly, does the Speaker actually have more power, or just a higher profile (but worse) job?

  30. Scott says:

    @James P:

    I’m OK with an economic implosion as long as it occurs on Obama’s watch.

    So you’re a anarchic terrorist. So totally consumed by inchoate rage that you don’t care who you hurt. Pathetic un American slime.

    One thing that is still true is that you don’t negotiate with terrorists. The so-call Freedom Caucus is a political terrorist organization. Any Republicans or Democrats, for that matter, should work to destroy these right wing creatures.

  31. wr says:

    @David M: ” Secondly, does the Speaker actually have more power, or just a higher profile (but worse) job?”

    I think it depends on the speaker… and on the House. But for the moment, Boehner seems to have done such a terrible job that he’s rendered his caucus ungovernable.

  32. David M says:

    @wr:

    Or has the “burn it down” caucus and the conservative media complex made his job impossible?

  33. James P says:

    @C. Clavin: I do understand the debt ceiling. I understand that the budget balances overnight if it is not raised. I understand that the government can not borrow more money if it is not raised.

    The only lie anyone is telling is the people peddling the red herring that failure to raise the debt ceiling will result in default.

    Get off the bar stool and go back to your mail route, Cliffy.

  34. James P says:

    @Scott: I hope Obama is true to his word (for the first time) and doesn’t negotiate.

    My position is that there is nothing to negotiate. Fine, no debt ceiling increase. There, nothing to negotiate

    If the economy does implode who is most adversely impacted? Obama voters. Screw them – they deserve it after inflicting him upon the rest of us.

  35. James P says:

    @Scott:

    So you’re a anarchic terrorist.

    Nah, just a guy ready to go to Galt’s Gulch where everyone fends for themselves.

  36. al-Ameda says:

    @James P:

    Barry can be rolled if the conservatives have the political will to stand together. Just simply refuse to raise the debt ceiling unless and until it is coupled with a repeal of Obamacare, the Iran capitulation, and defunding of Planned Death-hood

    Except for the fact that there is no evidence that he can be
    rolled by Republicans, you might be right.

  37. Pinky says:

    @wr: Thank you for your contribution to this discussion. It was intelligent and didn’t at all cover ground that had already been discussed. I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that I’m hoping for your continued participation.

  38. Pinky says:

    @C. Clavin: He didn’t campaign for the VP nomination, as far as I remember. He did accept the nomination and campaigned for the office as the nominee.

  39. An Interested Party says:

    Some random idiot spouting garbage is one thing but the sad truth is that there are plenty of ignorant fools out there who believe the same nonsense this guy does and some of them are in Congress or running to be president…yikes…

  40. James P says:

    @al-Ameda: Republicans have never once tried to play hardball with the little bastard. Boehner is a squish. If we have an actual conservative we can put pressure on him and he’ll fold.

    If the GOP actually puts the screws to him, he’ll cave.

  41. James P says:
  42. C. Clavin says:

    @Pinky:
    WTF does that matter?????

  43. Pinky says:

    @C. Clavin: You said

    I’m not sure why you think someone who ran for VP is not interested in power

    If he’d angled for the VP nomination, then this point would be valid. But he didn’t.

  44. MikeSJ says:

    Hard to believe but their are Republicans who would willingly push this country into another Great Depression if their demands aren’t met.

    Their motto seems to be “Give me what I want or I shoot the hostage!”

    I hope that the Government has a plan in place to deal with these wacko’s.

    My personal plan would be to restrict government shutdowns or defaults to the Red States. CA and NY and all the like would be 100% exempt. Kansas…no social security checks. No Medicare payments. No Medical reimbursements and absolutely 100% no Farm Subsidies.

    I’m thinking a Walking Dead scenario, just with no zombies. (Maybe some cannibalism though.)

    Minnesota will have to deal with the hordes of starving refugees but I’m sure it will work out. The main thing is no one from a Blue state is inconvenienced in any way and that the good citizens of the Red States that elected these freaks be reduced to beggary and starvation.

    That’s what they want so lets give it to them good and hard.

  45. al-Ameda says:

    @James P:

    @al-Ameda: Republicans have never once tried to play hardball with the little bastard. Boehner is a squish. If we have an actual conservative we can put pressure on him and he’ll fold.
    If the GOP actually puts the screws to him, he’ll cave.

    So you’re saying that Republicans should have stayed the course, and forced a default on federal securities, because the public would have blamed Obama the default, for not caving in.

    Okay …. right …

  46. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Scott: But I have to admire his candor. I’ve been saying for a long time that one of my problems with the Conservative movement is that they seem to be willing to burn the country down as long as the GOP gets to govern rule over the rubble. He’s the first guy to actually say so.

  47. Slugger says:

    The world did not end on 10/7 despite the predictions of people who are very careful students of the bible. It ain’t gonna end no matter how much Republicans step on their own dicks. Since it is actually not possible to sink only Obama’s end of the boat, throwing a sabot into the gears of government will not happen. The loudest members of the Freedom causus are not necessarily eager for self-destruction, and the ones who are willing to hurt the country for some perceived partisan advantage are sensitive to the pressures that the money people can apply.
    Evidence for my view: the DJA went up 500 this week.

  48. grumpy realist says:

    @James P: Ah yes….Galt’s Gulch, Hour 2. (Courtesy of Bob the Angry Flower)

  49. Tillman says:

    Honestly, my memory (and the few searches I did) didn’t turn up evidence one way or the other over whether Ryan actively sought the vice president slot in 2012. However, since he didn’t ask to be taken off the Romney campaign’s shortlist when they narrowed their candidates down, and since he’s a politician, it’s more natural to conclude he’s as ambitious as any bloke. (And therefore doesn’t want the speakership because he understands how impossible the job is with the Freedom Caucus existing.)

    I honestly have no idea where people get the idea he wants to be president though.

    @Slugger: I wouldn’t call anyone using the Bible to predict exact dates for the end of the world experts on it in any sense.

  50. Rafer Janders says:

    @Pinky:

    Whatever Cliffy may think of Ryan’s honesty, his lack of interest in power seems worthy of Diogenes’s notice.

    Which is why he turned down Romney’s offer to join him as his vice-presidential candidate in 201..wait, what?

  51. gVOR08 says:

    @Pinky:

    If he’d angled for the VP nomination, then this point would be valid. But he didn’t.

    Angling for VP, or a cabinet slot, or a judgeship, or any other appointed position is often behind the scenes. I have no idea whether Ryan “angled” for VP. And neither do you.

    I recommend the first rule of holes for your consideration.

  52. Pinky says:

    @gVOR08: That was the first time I dropped the phrase “as far as I know” or something similar. If you read the thread, you’ll see that what you said doesn’t contradict my point.

  53. Rafer Janders says:

    @Pinky:

    So basically, what you said was “I have no idea whether or not what I say is true, but I’ll base my claim on it.”

  54. Pinky says:

    @Rafer Janders: I said that Ryan appeared unusually uninterested in power. The fact that he ran for VP was raised as a counterpoint. I said that that in itself didn’t disprove my position, because neither you nor I have any idea if he did so in pursuit of power.

  55. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @Pinky: The people who are not pursuing power in this nation are easily identified. They are the ones who are not taking management positions and are not seeking political office. Glad to help.

  56. Pinky says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker: I could use a little more help. Would you say that someone who has political office and doesn’t seek a more prominent political office is someone who isn’t pursuing power, at least in the sense of trying to acquire more?

  57. DrDaveT says:

    @Pinky:

    Would you say that someone who has political office and doesn’t seek a more prominent political office is someone who isn’t pursuing power, at least in the sense of trying to acquire more?

    It depends on (among other things) whether the “more prominent” office is actually “less powerful” than the current office.

    At present, Speaker of the House is a rather less powerful (and more vulnerable) position, in practice, than Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.

  58. Tillman says:

    @Pinky: Your point was that he seems “unusually” uninterested, if we’re going to parse words. You have no basis to think it’s unusual.

    @Rafer Janders: That’s about every third comment here, so I don’t get singling Pinky out for having an opinion. Aside from his team.

  59. Matt says:

    @Pinky: See you have no idea what was going on behind the scenes. For all we know he could of been heavily lobbying behind closed doors. Or he might be this stalwart jeesus like figure that had great responsibility pushed on him…